‘Miracle’ Rescue Of Climber From Annapurna Crevasse

Anurag Maloo was hauled 200 metres from the crevasse which he fell into three days earlier

Read time 3 mins

Published Apr 21, 2023

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

A team of five sherpas, Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, Chhepal Sherpa, Dawa Nurbu Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, and Tashi Sherpa and Polish climbers Adam Bielecki and his climbing partner Mariusz Hatala, carried out the daring rescue in an area notoriously subject to frequent avalanches. Indian climber Anurag Maloo was found alive but in a critical condition, having spent three days in the crevasse whilst rescuers desperately searched for him.

The rescue effort was coordinated from basecamp by by Chhang Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, with the sherpas and climbers carrying 300 meters of rope, an infrared camera, metal detectors, and Recco sensors. Mingma Sherpa of the same company commented that the rescue was a ‘one-in-a-million rescue’.

 

 

I thought I was looking for a body in that crevasse

After being extracted from the crevasse, the unconscious Maloo was airlifted in challenging conditions by skilled helicopter pilots and taken to Pokhara’s Manipal Hospital where doctors performed CPR on him for hours to keep his heart and lungs functioning. Later that day he was transported to Medicity Hospital in Kathmandu for further treatment, where he remains in a coma, connected to a ventilator.

Bielecki and Hatala had been waiting at basecamp for a weather window to attempt a new route on Annapurna’s north-west face when they were asked to join the search party looking for Maloo.

‘I thought I was looking for a body in that crevasse,’ Bielecki said of the rescue. ‘Then I realised that he was alive.’

Dramatic footage showing Maloo being winched unconscious from the crevasse has been shared on social media, illustrating the severity of the environment and the selfless bravery of the team involved.

 

The rescue team back at basecamp © Chhepal Sherpa/Sobit Gauchan

For one person, seven other climbers put their lives at risk

Having embarked on his summit push the night before, Maloo had begun to feel unwell and was returning to base camp when he fell into the crevasse near Camp 2. Fellow climber Moeses Fiamoncini who was descending at the same time as Maloo and his sherpa reported that he appeared to rappel off the end of the rope, hitting hard ice before sliding out of sight.

A major avalanche had swept the route between Camps 2 and 3 just two weeks earlier, an area where the avalanche threat is severe and often deadly. Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks explained that the rescue was particularly risky:

‘This sort of rescue is rare because the location is very dangerous. For one person, seven other climbers put their lives at risk. It was his sheer luck that they found him alive.’

Indian climber Anurag Maloo is in hospital in a critical condition

Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) and is well known for the difficulty and danger involved in its ascent. Just days before Maloo’s accident, 10-time Everest summiteer Noel Hanna from Northern Ireland died on the mountain.

Annapurna was first climbed by Maurice Herzog of France in 1950, is considered one of the most dangerous high-altitude summits owing to its high avalanche risk. At least 365 people are recorded as having climbed Annapurna, while more than 72 have died on it over the years.

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